Can someone explain the difference between hypothesis, thesis statement and research goal based on an example?

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    You should mention which subject you are in. 'Hypothesis' has opposite meanings in maths and physics.
    – Jessica B
    May 31, 2018 at 11:22

2 Answers 2


I had this same question recently and did some research on it. The definitions I found weren't consistent, but from them I derived the following.

Thesis statement -- A definitive statement about the way the world (or your system of interest) works, especially what is most important in causing or influencing the behavior of the system.

"Family expectations has primary significance on the performance in college for Latino girls in the Western US" is an example of a thesis statement.

Research goal -- Expresses what you hope to learn or shed light on in your research. Specifically, the goal should specify what type of results you are hoping to achieve. It contextualizes your work in relation to other research, especially theory. It also feeds into your choice of method.

"My research goal is to develop a theoretical model of cultural influence on college performance, contextualized by gender and ethnicity" is an example of a research goal.

Hypotheses -- What specific conditions or relations do you aim to test or evaluate in your research. Any research that does not include a method for hypothesis testing should not claim to test hypotheses. A hypothesis statement must be specific enough that it is testable by the methods you choose, and also it should be falsifiable -- i.e. it is clear what evidence might prove the hypothesis false, and such evidence should be plausible and possible.

"Low family expectations has a detrimental effect on the college completion rate and time-to-complete for high-achieving Latino girls" is an example of a hypothesis statement.

Notice how there are specific, testable conditions and metrics -- "college completion rates" and "time-to-complete". These conditions should appear as metrics in your research methods -- i.e. instruments and analysis methods.


A thesis statement usually helps guide the research paper. It is a short sentence or summary containing the central idea of the research paper. It helps a reader have a clear glimpse of what the paper is about.

The Hypothesis statement comes in different format but with the intent to help prove or disprove a phenomenon. The hypothesis can help defend, support, explain or disprove, argue against the thesis statement.Usually the hypothesis measures specific issues or variables-two or more and therefore should be testable. The thesis statement creates a background while the hypothesis creates a means to measure the interrelationship.

The research goal takes a look into the future of your study or research paper. |It tries to help you state what the outcomes you seek to achieve by the research work. With a research goal you can set specific milestones to accomplish at the end of the research work.

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